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On the rooftop of our building, I see the lights of  a national gem two blocks away — the National Institutes of Health (NIH), our country’s largest research hospital.   From this distance, it’s hard to fathom the breadth of activity going on each day in experimental trials. As you walk through hallways with patients’ rooms and doctors’ offices, directly connected to lab corridors where you see scientists working with cells through the door window, you begin to feel the enormity of it all. I say to myself, a few times a day, I wish I had become a scientist!
I feel honored to be a part of this, to meet patients and hear their stories, to interview doctors and researchers and feel their passion. They are all courageous — partnering to find tomorrow’s medicine.  And I know it’s not easy. The paths they walk are lined with hope but fraught with challenges.

Jake and Kelsey outside the world series!

Many of you know the story of one of the bravest people I know.  Ten-years ago this month, Jake, our son, was medically evacuated from Italy after nearly a month’s stay in the children’s hospital in Rome.  He faced a rigorous course of chemotherapy, the rollercoaster ride of infections and hospitalizations and the isolation and emotional stress of his illness and missing high school. But he embraced it all, with grace, courage — and lots of humor.  He survived through the skillful hands of his medical teams – and we survived with the deep support of our community, family and friends.

Now Jake is a healthy, young adult and launched in a job in San Francisco.  He’s still passionate about the world, politics, the Cubs — and he embraces life at every turn.  In celebration of his journey, this
big anniversary, I’m jumping out of my comfort zone – way out – to participate in a triathlon. In fact, last weekend I plunged into the Potomac River for my first open water swim. It was terrifying.
As part of this celebration, and for my upcoming birthday, I’m raising money for Friends of Patients at the NIH, the charity where I work, that supports patients and gives them and their family critical emergency support so they can focus on healing and stay in trials. We all know that the bills at home don’t stop when you enter treatment, and the challenges of balancing family life, work, and embracing a new normal, are huge.
You helped us, now please help us help others. (and its tax deductible!)
Support my fundraising campaign: Donate to this tribute!
We face a time in our country deeply divided on issues of science and research and access to health care. But I hope you will agree, we can come together to salute brave patients, doctors and researchers, like the teams who cured Jake, and who continue to search for cures for so many life-threatening diseases. The patients we support at Friends at NIH play a key role in making research possible and moving it forward.  Research that may benefit us all.
Check out our campaign #BeBrave- but please, if you can donate, donate on my link first so your gift credits this tribute.
Have you been watching Discovery’s First in Human series? Episode 2 is this week, August 17th, 9 pm ET/PT.  It’s an unprecedented look inside the NIH Clinical Center — intense, compelling — dramatic stories about patients and researchers searching for cures. http://discovery.com/firstinhuman
Thank you!
Char

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